There was disappointment for the Ireland Under 18 men’s team this evening as they lost out their opening game at the 2019 FIBA U18 Men’s European Championship Division B to North Macedonia,74-60.
A massive opening quarter from North Macedonia saw them punish Ireland repeatedly from beyond the three-point line, with sharpshooter Andrej Jakimovski finishing the quarter with 15 points to give his side a 13-point cushion. They also had the edge on the offensive boards through the game, grabbing 21 boards throughout.
Despite a much stronger second half display from the boys in green, including a 15-point game from Sanmi Fajana, some big three-pointers from Nathan Moore and superb defense from James Connaire, the damage had already been done and North Macedonia took the win.
Speaking afterwards, head coach Paul Kelleher stated: “We’re disappointed, we were so well prepared, maybe we put too much expectation on ourselves. When you give up 21 offensive rebounds... and they had 15 shots more than we did, and that’s probably where they got their extra few points. We gave them too much air space and they got comfortable in the first quarter. We’ll go again tomorrow though, and the boys know what we have to do.”
Speaking of tomorrow, it’s a quick turn around for the Irish, as they face off against Slovakia at 2.15pm (Irish time) in their second group game.
Ireland U18 Men’s team result:
Group Game 1
North Macedonia 74-60 Ireland
IRELAND: Ronan Cregan, Matthew Harper (9), Nate Moore (8), Paul Kelly (7), CJ Fulton (3), Tiernan Howe (5), James Connaire (5), David Lehane (4), Daire Kennelly (2), Rapolas Buiyvdas (2), Sanmi Fajana (15), Leeroy Odiahi.
Ireland U18 Men’s Fixtures at FIBA U18 Men’s European Championships
(All times listed are Irish times)
Saturday, July 27th
Group Game 2
Ireland v Slovakia, 14.15
Sunday, July 28th
Group Game 3
Ukraine v Ireland, 16.30
Monday, July 29th
Tuesday, July 30th
Group Game 4
Ireland v Denmark, 12.00
Wednesday, July 31st
Group Game 5
Georgia v Ireland, 14.15
Thursday, August 1st
Friday, August 2nd
Saturday, August 3rd
Sunday, August 4th
The Ireland U18 men's squad 2019
CJ Fulton, Belfast Star, St. Malachy’s College, Belfast
Daire Kennelly, Tralee Imperials/Garvey’s Tralee Warriors, Mounthawk
David Lehane, Blue Demons, Gaelcholáiste Mhuire AG
James Connaire, Moycullen BC, St Joseph’s The Bish, Galway
Leeroy Odiahio, Tralee Imperials/Garvey’s Tralee Warriors, Mounthawk
Matthew Harper, Templeogue BC, Templeogue College
Nathan Moore, Limerick Lions/UL Sports Eagles, Cresent Comprehensive
Paul Kelly, Moycullen BC, St Paul’s Oughterard
Rapolas Buivydas, St. Brendan’s/Garvey’s Tralee Warriors, CBS The Green St. Mary’s
Ronan Cregan, Limerick Lions, Cresent Comprehensive
Sanmi Fajana, Myerscough College, Manchester
Tiernan Howe, Abbey Seals Dublin Lions, Coláiste Chiarain, Leixlip